Sen. John McCain’s advice to President Obama to ditch Vice President Joe Biden in favor of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the ticket is not going over very well in the White House.
White House spokesman Jay Carney tried to put the Arizona Republican in his place Thursday, telling reporters that Mr. Obama’s opponent in the 2008 race “is the last person” people should be looking to for advice on choosing a running mate, a not-so-subtle slap at Sarah Palin, Mr. McCain’s choice in 2008.
By focusing on Mr. Biden’s comments, which the White House said was simply the wrong choice of words, Mr. Carney said Republicans are just playing politics and trying to distract from the real issues at hand.
“They know that what they’re saying about this is ridiculous,” Mr. Carney said at a briefing with reporters, adding that it’s an “obvious” attempt to take attention away from policy issues.
Mr. McCain told Fox News Wednesday that he thinks “it might be wise” for the president to can Mr. Biden and ask Mrs. Clinton to be his new running mate, in light of a string of speaking gaffes by Mr. Biden in recent days.
“I think it might be wise to do that,” Mr. McCain said, “but it’s not going to happen. … If I were Hillary Clinton, I’m not sure I’d want to be on that team.”
Wednesday night on Fox News, Mrs. Palin suggested Mr. Biden should lose his spot on the ticket for making racially tinged remarks this week in a campaign speech in which he told a largely black audience in Virginia that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s economic policies would “put y’all back in chains.”
The White House has so far declined to condemn the slavery reference and has tried to play it down, arguing that Mr. Biden was really referring to Mr. Romney’s plans to loosen regulations on Wall Street if elected and simply misspoke.
But the furor over the comments has only grown more intense in the last 24 hours with Doug Wilder, Virginia’s first and only black governor, the latest to express concern about them.
“Slavery is nothing to joke about,” he said on Fox News.
But Mr. McCain also observed that accepting the secondary place on the ticket, is probably not in Mrs. Clinton’s political self-interest.
“I think that her ambitions, very frankly, are for 2016,” he said, “and I’m not sure that would enhance that likelihood.”